Mercenary Magic Page 17

She crossed her arms against her chest. “I am so. You don’t know anything about me.”

“I know what Riley told me.”

“And what was that?”

“That your mother died when you were very young. That you, your twin sister, and he lost your dad when you were only sixteen. You were only a child. You could have run off, but you took care of your brother. You got a job hunting monsters. And because of that money you brought home, Riley was able to get a proper education. That speaks droves about you.”

Riley had said too much. He shouldn’t have mentioned that she and Alex were twins. Coupled with his suspicions about her strange magic, it might be enough for Kai to put two and two together.

“I haven’t seen such devotion to family from most of the world’s esteemed magical dynasties, even though they pride themselves on exactly that.”

In his eyes, Sera saw something she’d seen rarely—and certainly never directed at her. Respect. He respected her. It felt…good. It shouldn’t have. She shouldn’t have cared what he thought of her. He couldn’t be trusted.

“You used Riley to spy on me,” she said, crunching that reminder into her mind.

“If I was going to hire you, I needed to know what sort of person you are.”

He said it as though he didn’t even realize what he’d done was wrong. And that was the whole problem. That was why she couldn’t trust him. Morality was elastic to him, something that could be wielded as a shield or moved aside when it was too much of an inconvenience.

“I’m a person who doesn’t like to be spied on,” she told him. “Now, let’s get back to why we’re here. What exactly do you expect to find here, Kai?”

His lower lip twitched. “I’m not sure. Whoever or whatever was controlling Finn was hitching a ride in his body. They might not have been sharing their intentions, but they must have left clues.”

“Finn said he couldn’t read their mind,” she said, chewing on the thought. “But could they read Finn’s?”

“You mean, was it more than his body they were using?”

She nodded. “You told me that the only people who could bypass your security are select members of your family. If someone is controlling their bodies and reading their minds, that could be their way in.”

“Remember the spell I had put on all of us. Myself included. No one with malicious intent can bypass the security. Based on the apocalyptic slideshow Finn caught, I think it’s safe to say this person has nothing but malicious intentions.”

“Magic is not foolproof. And this wacko is clearly no ordinary individual.”

“True.” Kai pulled his phone out of his jeans pocket. His fingers swirled and swiped across the screen. “I’m putting a few more guys on Finn watch. If he starts acting crazy again, we’ll know it.” He slipped the phone back into his pocket and looked at her. “My people searched this scene right after you brought Finn in. Besides the damage he shouldn’t have been able to cause, they didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. But I still think someone that powerful had to have left traces, even if he was hiding inside of Finn. Magic of that scale is not invisible. I’d like you to take another look at everything with me now. Go through the motions of the fight, and tell me everything you remember.”

“All right.”

Sera turned and walked across the parking lot to the spot where she and Naomi had entered the property. She stopped at the gate, then jogged around the cluster of buildings to stand in front of the fence that separated the facility grounds from Battery Spencer.

“When we arrived, Finn had a group of guards caught up in a spinning whirlwind over his head. Over there.” She pointed to the building with a large black eight painted on the wall, and Kai moved to stand there. “We tried to circle around him.” She sidestepped a few paces. “But he’d tossed the guards aside and summoned a field of cyclones to hold us off.”

Kai lifted his hands, and a dozen cyclones sprouted out of thin air. They twirled completely in sync—moving in that same slow, lazy spin. But unlike Finn and his frenzied cyclones, Kai had his completely under control.

“Is everyone in your family an elemental mage?” she asked.

“Yes. Most of us have additional talents too. Finn is also a summoner, but his summoning isn’t any stronger than his casting.”

“And what additional talents do you have?”

Magic shone through his eyes, lighting them up. He grinned at her. “Many.”

Ok, she’d stepped right into that one. Back to business…

“Finn was making his way toward Building Six,” she said.

The cyclones moved with Kai as he walked to Building Six.

“Naomi tossed a few bursts of Dust at him, but the cyclones ate it all up. He started blasting us with wind, trying to hurl us at the fence.” She raised her hand quickly. “Don’t do that.”

“We want to recreate the scene as closely as possible.” He looked completely serious. He was ready to blast her across the parking lot. What a psychopath.

“Recreate that part in your head.”

“Fine.” He dropped his hands. “Keep going.”

“Then he threw a fireball at us—don’t do that either!”

A sigh brushed past his amused lips as he lowered his half-raised hands.

“He went into a summoning pose and merged all the cyclones into a single spinning wall. But don’t you—”

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